Coca-Cola offers $100,000 to refresh a state park

August 22, 2011

By Warren Kagarise

NEW — 6 a.m. Aug. 22, 2011

Lake Sammamish or Squak Mountain state parks could receive up to $100,000 for upgrades — if either comes out on top in a nationwide contest from Coca-Cola.

The soda giant is offering $175,000 in grants to parks across the United States. In order to receive a prize, parks must receive the most votes from online fans. Supporters can cast unlimited votes until the voting period ends Sept. 6.

Participants can also earn extra points for chosen parks by using Facebook tools and uploading photos as part of the contest.

In addition to the $100,000 prize, the top recipient claims the title “America’s Favorite Park” for the coming months. Coca-Cola is also offering $50,000 to the park in the No. 2 spot and $25,000 to the No. 3 park.

The grants can be used to restore, rebuild or enhance recreation areas in parks to encourage people to play and be active.

Both state parks in the Issaquah area cut services in recent years amid state budget shortfalls. Officials considered shutting down Squak Mountain State Park through 2013 as a cost-cutting measure, but decided in the end to keep the park open to the public.

In the contest so far, Lake Sammamish and Squak Mountain lag far behind the top contenders. Both parks only received a handful of votes before Monday morning.

Coca-Cola launched the contest last year. The soda giant joined the National Park Foundation, America’s State Parks, and the National Recreation and Park Association for the ongoing campaign.

People across the United States cast more than 5.7 million votes during the campaign. Bear Head Lake State Park in Ely, Minn., received the initial $100,000 prize after garnering more than 1.6 million votes in the contest.

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